Monday, December 31, 2007

This is What I Did by Ann Dee Ellis

"A year ago I was fine. That’s when nothing was wrong." But now Logan is in the eighth grade and his entire life has changed. Something has happened involving his best friend Zyler and it has traumatized him deeply. His family has moved to a new neighborhood in order to give him a fresh start but it doesn’t help because his mother made the mistake of confiding in a neighbor and the rumors of what happened get way out of proportion. Logan insists that he is fine, but he isn’t. He has lost his ability to interact with the world and is unable to defend himself against the horrible bullying going on at school and at Scouts. Until he is able to face the traumatic thing he witnessed and the fact that he did nothing to stop it, he will not be able to move on with his life – the shame and guilt will just smother him.

This is a remarkable story. Ellis’ portrayal of Logan as a traumatized boy unable to move on with his life is really well-written. In many ways Logan reminded me of Miranda from Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak in his inability to communicate his feelings. He has lost his capacity for strong emotions – he speaks in flat statements: “I’m fine.” "I have a family that is good.” “ Sometimes I have to be in charge because Mom and Dad go on dates a lot.” I wanted to reach into the book, put my arms around him, and tell him that he wasn’t a horrible kid, that he was going make it.

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